The WWF have published a report on European pollution which has set alarm bells ringing across the continent with the confirmation that coal-fired plants are responsible for polluting neighbouring countries.
The report, carried out by the WWF, the Alliance for Health and the Environment (HEAL), the Climate Action Network Europe (CAN Europe) and Sandbag, studied the movement of coal dust from 257 stations on 280 which are located in the European Union.
It is estimated that in 2013 these emissions were responsible for almost 23 000 premature deaths and countless health problems from simple bronchitis to heart disease. All told, the total cost to health services across Europe was estimated to have been 62.3 billion euros.
This extremely alarming statistic emphasizes that collaboration between EU countries is mandatory if we are to successfully reduce pollution and improve air quality, a concern increasingly important for all member states.
It is clear that previously existing and current Initiatives have not done enough to reduce indoor pollution and that steps must be taken to encourage all countries to pollute less and to turn to clean energy.
Poland and Germany are among the biggest polluters and their pollution have a significant impact on the health of their neighbours and can even cause premature death. The top 5 polluters are:
- Poland (4690 premature deaths across borders)
- Germany (2490)
- Romania (1660)
- Bulgaria (1390)
- United Kingdom (1350)
And conversely, the countries most affected by the pollution of their neighbours:
- Germany (3630 premature deaths)
- Italy (1610)
- France (1610)
- Greece (1050)
- Hungary (700)
These alarming figures can be seen even more clearly in a map of the most polluting power stations in Europe that was published by the WWF:
Imke Lübbeke, in charge of the Climate and Energy Office of European policy WWF, commented on the findings of the report, saying:
“The report shows that eliminating the use of coal must be a shared objective for all EU countries. The devastation caused by coal on the climate and the health of all European citizens show that EU countries have an interest in working together to cutting out this polluting energy source.”
Wendel Trio, the director of Climate Action Network, also took the opportunity to emphasize the role that the COP21 may have to play, declaring:
“The report reveals that each coal plant closure results in considerable benefits for both health and the climate, well beyond national borders. With the signing of the Paris Agreement, the heads of EU states have even more reason to increase their efforts to close all coal plants and turn quickly to 100% renewable energy sources.”